Coaching in the workplace happens every day, planned or not, and there is ample opportunity during daily interactions between leaders and teams. Being a strong and impactful leader requires identifying and taking advantage of these ‘coachable’ moments to improve your employees’ performance, workplace satisfaction, bottom lines and the company culture as a whole.
Coaching is a form of development where an experienced person supports a learning employee or client to achieve a specific goal through tailored training and guidance.
Being a ‘coach’ isn’t a title, position or qualification. Instead, it is the simple upskilling and sharing of knowledge – anyone can be, or already is a coach.
Below are my seven guiding principles to effective coaching:
1.Never underestimate the power of positivity
You all know how big a believer I am of the power of positivity! When you’re someone who’s genuinely dedicated to leading and supporting others to bring out their best, you radiate positivity and sincerity. Likewise, psychology says people are far more receptive when feedback is framed positively, rather than negatively.
2.Develop real relationships and build trust
Just because you’re the leader doesn’t mean your team automatically trusts you. Trust is something that must be earned, and the best way to do this is by treating your team as more than just numbers – get to know each person individually, find out their goals and motivators.
By showing a genuine interest in your team as people, you’re demonstrating that you’re a leader who’s focused on others, not just themselves. This will build your teams’ trust in you and allow you all to work together much more effectively.
3.Use SMART goal setting
SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Based, all of which are pretty self-explanatory. Giving your goals a clear structure and breaking them down into smaller and more achievable goals ensures a higher chance of success – introduce it to your team if you haven’t already, see the difference it makes!
4.Give (and ask for) feedback
Regular feedback helps keep everyone on track and identifies issues before they turn into more significant problems, as well as providing motivation and encouragement. You’ll also identify any knowledge gaps or training that’s required and find out if there are any other resources your team feels they may need to achieve the results you’re after.
5.Use open-ended, not closed, questions
While you can’t always avoid the ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions, you need to make sure the bulk of your questioning is made up of open-ended questions so that you can encourage others to share their feelings and thoughts in more detail. You’ll be able to identify what needs improving, as well as current attitudes and whether everyone understands what needs to be done.
Transparency is another way to build trust and foster open communication. Transparency helps form and maintain relationships and encourages consistency. By being open about your journey, you’re showing your team that you are relatable and not infallible – dismantling the ‘leaders must be perfect and never wrong’ stereotype is vital to building positive employee relationships. Demonstrating openness encourages those around you to do the same and allows you to lead by example, which is a much more effective way to lead than the old ‘do as I say, not as I do’ way of thinking.
7.Use motivation to drive performance and improve results
Find out what drives your team, both as a whole and individually, and you’ll know how to inspire them to perform better and achieve more significant results. For example, some team members may be motivated through increased responsibility. Feeling valued and appreciated will inspire your team members to work harder and to repay the trust you’ve put in them.